Evaluating Organized Rides

How do you evaluate an organized century ride? What’s the most
important facet of the experience for you? Is there something that says
either “I can’t wait to do this next year” or “Never again.”?

Publicity – I like it when there’s a good web site. The more info, the more I
like it. Tell me about the route, the history of the ride. Describe the
food. Let me read some reviews. Post some photographs. Where is my
registration fee going? What does the tee short look like?

– It’s the 21st century. Figure out a way for me to register online. I
don’t remember how to address an envelope and I sure don’t have any

Please have plenty of bathrooms. If the ride is big, it’s nice to have
a chance to pick up a rider packet ahead of time. If parking is an
issue, have someone directing traffic. A nice spread of breakfast food
is always a plus. If riders have to wear a number, please have safety
pins. Make the riders’ meeting short and sweet.

– Do I need to say “offer shorter routes too”? Make sure your cue
sheets are accurate! Ride the route on a bicycle, don’t just drive it
in a car. There’s only one way to evaluate road conditions. It involves
pedaling. Make sure you let folks know how much climbing is involved.
Try to space your rest stops evenly. For some riders “just a few miles”
of riding on a bust highway is a non-starter. Of course the more scenic
the route can be, the better it is. I don’t use convenience stores and
I don’t really like going though small towns, but some folks like both.

Rest stops
– The more you have at the rest stops, the more I like it. Bring on the
food. I know the books say to never eat anything on a ride that you
haven’t eaten in training but I have a cast iron stomach. Having said
that, some folks want the typical stuff, so have some bananas,
quartered oranges etc. If you make sports drinks, read the directions.
At most rides the stuff is usually too weak. I usually stop two or
three times in a century so try to be consistent in your spacing.
You’ll get no complaints from most folks for having too many chances to
refuel and use the bathroom.

Post ride
– You get extra points for good food. Having showers (that work and
are clean) is a big plus. I love having a spot to sit down and rehash
the ride with other participants.

– I’ve never had to use a SAG for anything more than giving my cold
weather clothing a ride back to the start point. Still, put a working
phone number out there. I get really mad when I get told to call 911 if
I have an emergency. I often travel long distances to participate in
century rides and it isn’t like I can call Aunt Millie for help. The
more I see the SAG vehicles, the more I feel like yu have your stuff
together. You care (sob) you really care!

– Having a photographer (even better when the pictures are available
for free), free camping the night before an event, on site
entertainment for spouses who do rides of different lengths

  • rapunzel

    I was reading your post and noting the internal battle you’re experiencing…and then you even wrote that I think it core to your entire experience and struggle: “…and to be more of who I want to be”.

    So, my question…who do you want to be? I know music is important to you and so is bikes and cycling…but somewhere along the line, there’s a disconnect of some sort to manifesting. What’s your self talk? Are you going after music or cycling b/c of an internal “I should be…” rather than out of the pure joy it brings you to either create music, be around music and/or be on your bike?

    Also…what’s your “tailenders”? By that, I mean when you say to yourself (inside your head) that you want or are going to do something that you love…what’s that last sentence? That negative mental whisper?

    Most of the time, we don’t even realize we have those tailenders/negative mental whispers until someone else points it out. Once you bring awareness to it, you’re more likely to figure out what’s going on “behind the scenes” that keeps you from achieving your goals. Paying attention fully might also help you to realize that what you thought was a goal is really not your goal but perhaps someone else’s goal for you…or you might realize that a love/passion really isn’t. Or…if you’ll indulge me even further, you’ll find out that “stuff” from the past (ie guilts, old scripts, childhood traumas) are what’s running the show. So at a conscious level, you really want the things you want, but at a subconscious level, a different program is in control.

    Hope you don’t mind the “deep” post. I really feel for the internal struggle and recognize it from “stuff” I’ve experienced in the past (and sometimes still do). Walking through my dark side with a flashlight helped bring light to the subject and helped me get results and move on.

    Btw, the inner struggles that no one else can “see” unless we write about it are no less a challenge than the “bigger” ones others have experienced. B/c all these struggles are inner struggles at some level. Recognizing the struggle and striving to make it through is deserving of respect regardless of what “flavor” it is.

    And I’m here to say that I respect and honor your struggle. I hope you get the clarity you need and the results you desire.

    Peace, dude. …Really!

  • jackbulkley

    Another plus for me is online routes. I like to load the route into my phone as backup.